I am Making a Newbie Blogger Mistake, But I Wouldn’t Change Anything

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If you research blogging and how to start a blog, chances are you’ve come across a million and one guides and just as many sites that list any number of mistakes newbie bloggers make. One mistake that consistently ranks number one is not self-hosting.

Okay. I get that. Using a free platform like WordPress.com is limiting and the blog doesn’t really belong to you. You are just renting the space (for free). Using a self-hosted site is described as owning your own home and doing whatever it is you want to it. Your chosen blogging platform may close one day, making your beautiful blog go poof as well, so self-hosting is preferred. However, WordPress is my chosen platform and it has been going strong for years. I started in 2010, well after it was established. And it’s considered the top blogging platform by many, many resources. So, I’m not afraid.

Apparently, I am making newbie blogger mistake #1: not self-hosting.

Well, we have plans to switch one day. Scratch that. The Husband is totally onboard with it. Kat happens to hate risk taking, so is dawdling as long as possible and willingly getting sidetracked. She also hates the idea of spending hundreds of dollars to self-host, especially when there are two toddlers to raise, love, and educate and when one of those toddlers is in full school prep, well, costs add up. Sure, it makes monetizing easy, but Kat does not take risks and paying money up front for something that might not pan out has her giggling and saying she’ll look into it, for the next 10, 20, 30 or so years.

So, yes, I am willingly making a newbie blogger mistake (because I have full confidence in WordPress considering its and my long history and really don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars, which you’re going to pay for quality!).

And I am embracing it!

Think about it. How many newbie bloggers actually know, 100%, exactly what they are doing and what to write to draw faithful readers? This is my third time working The Lily Cafe and, after almost 7 months, I’m still working things out. I’ve changed themes, changed how I write, added more topics I write about, added The Husband as a weekly contributor, changed the menu, changed my bio, and changed many other things many times.

My point is, it’s taken me this long to find my brand, make my brand work for me, and find aesthetics and phrases that make me happy. It’s taken me this long to practice my writing, find my voice, and settle on a tone.

Sure, my blog has grown over the months, but it was hardly professional 100% of the time. At one point I didn’t even have a menu! As someone who is more of a saver than spender, knowing I was tinkering around while paying for it would have twisted me in knots. I would have felt like I was wasting my money, which definitely does not make me happy.

No, I’d rather work out my kinks before switching to paying for it. I’d rather have my writing be more interesting and polished and my brand nailed down before switching to self-hosting. Of course, the technical side of switching the blog over will take time, but at least I can launch as professional a blog as possible and know I am paying for something that looks nice, functions well, can potentially make money, and won’t be up and down with constant tweaks.

Not self-hosting right away may be a newbie mistake, but it’s a mistake I gladly embrace. For all I know, I might have given up blogging four months in, but still would have paid up front for 2-3 years of self-hosting (to be able to pay that nice, low monthly fee). Working on a free platform has given me the chance to see if I want to do this and whether or not I can even swing it while raising two young children. Minimal risk.

Next step: I’ll look into “fixing” my mistake. Maybe. You know, maybe before my youngest turns 18. Maybe.

What blogging mistakes have you made and what have you learned? Do you consider it a mistake?

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23 thoughts on “I am Making a Newbie Blogger Mistake, But I Wouldn’t Change Anything

  1. I have no interest in self-hosting! I’ve been blogging for years, but (and I know it’s partly me!) don’t have the readers for me to warrant spending money on my blog. I’m considering buying my domain via WP but it’s still only a maybe! It does kind-of bug me that a lot of people have demands and expectations of bloggers, when the competition almost (in my opinion) makes it less worth it, your own domain or whether you self-host doesn’t necessarily make you a better blogger or more worth reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true! It’s the content that really matters. If it’s good, people will return. Self-hosting makes more things possible in terms of how the site looks and monetization opportunities, but if posts are uninteresting, then what’s the point? Thank you so much for your comment! I’m right there with you about sticking to free!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I felt like this too but I had to weigh the risk against the benefits. I use Siteground and only paid $18 to test it out for a month. I like it and I am going to pay for a full year next month which is $50. I bought my own domain from google for $12 and it comes with the SSL encrypt.

    The thing about self hosting is that it does a lot more than make sure you have your own space that belongs to you. It provides you with more traffic coming into your blog and the speed to handle it. I have spent money but I will be able to make money back with ads and other things that requires me to input code.

    I started my blog on WordPressdotcom, downloaded my files, uploaded them to my WordPressdotorg blog. It was pretty simple!

    I know it doesn’t make anyone better than the next blogger but I can definitely say it gives me way more to work with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s great to know the other side and that it’s working out for you. Self-hosting is very appealing and my husband is constantly trying to persuade me to go that route, but I’m not much of a risk taker, especially when it comes to money. I do like that it makes sites more visible and that will help garner the traffic to make it possible to do all the monetization strategies, but I also like being able to play around with my blogging style completely free. I love knowing your experience with self-hosting, though, and am very glad you commented, so thank you! I hope it pays back and more and I look forward to following your journey as a blogger.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah the only way we know is if people share. I completely understand your decision and it’s all about being ready for that step. I just try to pass on the information that may help in the future. You are so right about the content needing to be valuable to the reader first though. If it’s not worth reading everything else doesn’t even matter.

        Either way, I wish you well on your blogging journey. I look forward to sticking around to see your growth.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s definitely a huge step, and I really appreciate the information you shared with me. I have actually spent months looking into self-hosting, but it gets overwhelming for me. If I do get to that point, I’ll be sure to remember this. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Kat ! I have been reading about a lot of your blogs and you turned out to be a revolutionary just like me .. lol. I am not new to writing but blogging, indeed ! Going through the stuff you have penned down gives me immense joy and confidence to take a step at a time and have realistic approach.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I started blogging in 2016 with a Squarespace site… but after a year I was burnt out and hated writing. The biggest blogging mistake I made was focusing on growth instead of content (i.e. what matters to me). Now, my biggest “mistake” is lack of consistency. Sometimes I’ll post daily and then it will be three months before I write again. But I’m giving myself grace because ultimately this is something I enjoy and can call my own while being a busy mom of a baby and toddler.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s always difficult to balance everything, but, at the end of the day, a blog is your space and every blogger should have the freedom to make whatever choice they want regardless of what others say they shouldn’t do. I really enjoy your blog, but, as a mom of 2 as well, 100% get where you’re coming from with life being busy!

      Like

  5. I’m six years into blogging…and still don’t self-host the blog. Newbie mistake, maybe, but as you said, it works for me for the time being. Maybe I’ll look into it down the road too, but so far, I’m enjoying writing the content and having a blog I don’t have to do as much background work on. =)

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so nice to know that in 6 years you haven’t switched. I love that WordPress takes care of all the important things so the focus can really just be on creating the content. I understand the appeal to self-host, especially for mom bloggers trying to bring in some money, but I’d rather enjoy the journey of blogging than have to worry about whether it’s time to renew and having to do all the maintenance myself. Besides, writing for the blog really is the most enjoyable part and as long as it’s interesting, it doesn’t matter if it’s self-hosted.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My thoughts are with you right now and I am loving the experimental phase. I would consider a self hosted site if I were picking up momentum and accruing an extensive following. Right now, I am taking in the perks that come with the freedom of being in the humble phase.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! It’s so nice to be able to experiment and ponder possible blogging futures without the pressure of having to create a quality site and content right away. Best of luck on your journey and I wish you great success!

      Like

    • Absolutely! By making mistakes, we learn what we really want. Besides, blanket recommendations do not work for everyone; we all have to figure out what works for us on our own. Best of luck to you!

      Like

  7. I think it’s really entirely up to you what you want to do either way. I know I’m perfectly fine with where I am when it comes to my blog. I just own the domain name, so I’m not self-hosting and I’ve been here on WordPress for three years now. So it hasn’t been a problem for me just yet. And like you said, WordPress is known to be a blogging platform so I’m not even worried about it being gone anytime soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely! I find those lists of what new bloggers should and shouldn’t do ridiculous. Every blogger has their own individual needs and ideas, so it just drives me nuts when site after site says self-hosting is a must. Thank you so much for your comment and I hope you blog for many more years!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I really don’t get why not self hosting is considered a new blogger thing. Some people just aren’t that tech savvy with website design so they don’t want to do something to their blog that permanently messes it up. I mean if I was more tech savvy and had the money for it, I’d maybe consider it, but there’s really no reason for me to do it right now. I’m happy with the way my blog looks and if I end up not being satisfied with it, I can always change it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t get it either. Many of the bloggers I follow and enjoy don’t self host and seem perfectly happy with it. As you said, it can always be changed if a blogger wants to, so why bother spending money if you don’t really have to? Besides, I think many people blog to have fun with it, so paying to blog seems a bit silly.

        Liked by 1 person

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